The table saw is a vital piece of equipment for any woodshop. It’s a woodworking tool consisted of a circular saw blade mounted on an arbor and driven by an electric motor. The blade protrudes through the top of a table, providing support for the wood being cut.
With constant use, however, your table saw blade can be subject to misalignment and wear and tear. When these occur, the accuracy of the cut can be compromised and, worse, can be dangerous to the operator. For these reasons, the regular upkeep of the table saw is imperative.
To ensure the machine runs smoothly and cuts cleanly, here are several aspects of it that you need to consider when tuning up your table saw.
1. Blade condition
Start by examining your saw blade. Know that it should be sharp, free of pitch, and flat. To test this, check how it slows down after turning off the saw to see if it’s flat. If you see any wobble, it means that the blade must be replaced.
2. Blade alignment
The blade has to be parallel to the saw’s miter slots. To check this, start by raising the blade as high as it can go. Then, choose one carbide tooth on the blade, rotate the blade, measure from the carbide to one miter slot, and note the distance. If the distance doesn’t match, then you will need to adjust the motor.
3. Fence alignment
After ensuring that the motor and the blade are aligned, the fence’s alignment should also be considered. When the fence is misaligned, the saw will be more inclined to kick back, which can be a hazardous situation for the operator. To check this, all you have to do is to stand a straight-edge and slide the fence until it rests firmly against the straight-edge. Look at the straight-edge and look for any gaps between the straight-edge and the fence. If there are gaps, make sure to perform the necessary adjustments.
4. Blade for square
With the fence and blade parallel to the miter slot, make sure that the blade is also square to the table. Start by adjusting the saw’s arbor angle to the 0-degree stop. Then, check to see that the blade is at 90-degrees to the table by using a layout square or small framing square standing on its edge. If it is out of alignment, make the necessary adjustment based on the owner’s manual.
5. Throat plate
With the blade square to the table, you will then need to lower the blade completely. Perform this by standing a straight-edge or a square on edge, perpendicular to the miter slot, and pushing it across the throat plate. The goal is to ensure that the plate should be at or just below the level of the table.
There are three steps to follow at this stage. First, make sure that the blade and splitter or riving knife is aligned by putting a straight-edge against the blade and splitter. Second, take a look at the table to ensure that the dust collection system and adjustment mechanisms aren’t covered with excessive sawdust or pitch. Finally, check the miter gauge to ensure it slides freely through each of the miter slots.
After performing the needed tune-up, you can ensure that you or anyone operating the table saw will be safe from any potential harm and that it will continue to perform efficiently.
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